Oral Cancer

Oral cancer involves cancer of the lips, tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums and floor of the mouth. It accounts for approximately 2% of all cancers diagnosed in New Zealand wherein, about 250 people are diagnosed each year and most are treated


Warning signs

1. White scaly patch/Leukoplakia. Commonly occurs in smokers and tobacco chewers. Sites to detect this is inside of cheeks, gums, lower lip, floor of mouth and side of the tongue.

2. Red scaly patch/Erythroplakia. Occurs commonly on the inner cheeks, floor of the mouth or tongue. Some patches may also be a mixture of both red and white patches.

3. Ulcers that do not heal within 2 weeks.

4. Actinic cheilosis. Shriveling of the lips in which dry, scaly changes occur.

5. Actinic keratosis. Found on sun damaged skin and appears as a scaly spot.

6. Lichen planus. Appears in a white lacy or fern-like pattern.

7. Swelling, lump or growth anywhere with or without pain.

8. Tingling or numbness of the tongue or anywhere else in the mouth.

9. Prolonged hoarseness, sore throats, persistent coughing, or a feeling of a lump in the throat.

10. Difficulty swallowing and opening the mouth.




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